Lean Manufacturing Questions Answered
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How can Lean Manufacturing
help my business if it's not a manufacturing business?
The 'Lean' principles apply
to ANY business, whether Manufacturing or not. I recently was part of a six
man team in an airline catering company that produced over $10,000,000 of
savings in just 6 months. I personally have colleagues who work in the
Financial sector applying exactly the same tools and techniques as they did
in Mfg and getting even better results because the processes are much
simpler. What you need to remember is that 'Lean' deals with mainly two
things - People and Processes (Machines would be included in the processes)
So any businesses that has people and processes can be improved using 'Lean'
methodology. I haven't yet come across an industry that CAN'T be improved
with 'Lean' ! There are also 'Lean' initiatives being set up in many other
industries around the world at the moment, for example in the UK the
National Health service, The Royal Mail, Local Government agencies to name
but a few are going down the 'Lean' road.
Why would I want to use
Lean Manufacturing if my business is making money already?
Why leave money on the
table? If you are already making money without applying 'Lean' then you are
more than likely leaving cash on the counter. Additionally, how long will it
be before your competitors catch up or even overtake you. Imagine if they
started to make the same product to a better quality standard at a third of
the cost to them - especially if you're competing against companies in the
emerging markets of China and India. How long would it be before your market
share took a nasty dip? You either move forward and improve or you will
begin to decline. The laws of the universe do not allow for standing still
(Not for very long anyway!)
How does Lean
Manufacturing actually improve my bottom line?
There is something called
'The Essential Business Equation' in which there are three parts - Costs,
selling price and profit. Obviously your profit is determined by your
selling price minus your costs. The only one of these two you can have any
effect on is the costs, because the selling price to a greater or lesser
degree is determined by the market (You can't suddenly put a retail price of
$100,000 on a two door family saloon car because you want to make more
profit ! The market just won't buy.) So the only one you can really take
control of is your costs. Reduced costs = Increased profits. 'Lean'
methodology concentrates on reducing 'Waste' in the operation to reduce
costs so that the work that is done is more closely aligned to what the
customer is actually willing to pay for.
We tried some of these
improvement fads before and they didn't work, why should I try Lean Manufacturing?
methodologies will fail if the management commitment isn't there. 'Lean Manufacturing'
requires that ALL workers from the CEO to the guys on the front line change
the way they operate. If the guy at the top isn't willing to walk the walk
and lead by example, then your road to 'Lean' will be a very slow one and
you may well be out of business before you get there! If however, the guy at
the top is on board and actively waving the flag and leading by example,
your business will flourish and prosper and you'll leave your competitors
eating your dust !
My people are already working
flat out and doing overtime, but we still can't keep up with orders. How can
Lean Manufacturing help me?
Lean Manufacturing Overview Presentation - Left Click To View, Right Click To Download
Some of the real basic
'Lean' diagnostic tools will very quickly identify what your production rate
needs to be along with the ideal number of workers. The application of
working to 'Takt Time' and a simple rebalance of the working processes could
be all you need to get more work out with less employees and no overtime.
Every situation is different obviously, but a good Value stream map will
very quickly let you see where your bottlenecks and main areas of waste are
(AND they probably aren't where you think they are!)
My people are already working
flat out and doing overtime, but we still don't make any profit at the end of
the month How can Lean Manufacturing help me?
Your people are working
flat out and working overtime... Are they working flat out on the 'Right'
things? If you spent all morning digging a hole and then all afternoon
filling it back in, you'd have been flat out working hard all day but what
would you have to show for it ? There are three categories of work:
Value adding work - Changing the form or function of a product so that it
more closely resembles what the customer wants i.e. If you are making cakes,
then mixing the ingredients would be an example of Value adding work. Or if
you are in the finance sector, reviewing and making a decision on a loan
application would be Value adding. The second type of work is 'Incidental
work' or 'Non Value adding but essential' work with current processes and
wherewithal. In the cake example, inspecting the cakes when they come out of
the oven does not in itself add any value to the product BUT it is something
that must be done to ensure quality is right. And the third type of work -
'Waste' This is the one 'Lean Manufacturing' concentrates on eliminating.
Waste is the use of any material or resource beyond what the
customer requires and is willing to pay for.
Lean Manufacturing aims to identify and eliminate waste to
improve the performance of the business.
There are seven wastes and they are as follows;
Lean Manufacturing 7 Wastes
e.g. making it for the sake of it
e.g. high raw material stocks
e.g. long set ups and times
e.g. walking lifting putting down
e.g. unnecessary movement / extra handling
e.g. customer satisfaction / right first time
e.g. fresh air cutting / speeds and feeds
The 8th Waste of Lean
Manufacturing - Under utilisation of people. People are your greatest asset,
learn to get the best out of them.
What is Lean and how can I
use it to make my business more efficient?
How can I learn how to
implement Lean Manufacturing
without paying out $$$$thousands on consultants?
In this package is a step
by step guide to implementation - Read it, apply it - Don't worry about
getting it right, just get it going. The worst thing you can do is -
Nothing. If you keep doing what you've always done you'll keep getting what
you've always got. The things you are currently doing that got you into the
situation you are currently in are NOT the things that will get you out of
Learn, understand, apply
and if you get stuck, we are only an email away.
Lean should be recognised as a totally different way of looking at
working. It’s about attacking waste; the massive areas in the value stream
(overall process), from raw material to finished goods, where no added value is
‘Lean thinking’ first appeared in the 1920s Henry Ford used it to
improve his manufacturing flow lines while producing his famous Ford model T.
He used it to rid his company’s production lines of all waste, be it
an activity or other form of waste, so he could meet his vast order schedule.
Lean carried on in its infant form up to the seventies, where the global oil
crisis demanded that petrol-guzzling engines, (that Ford had become used to
making), be replaced by economical smaller engines.This is when lean was adopted
and the Toyota car company. Here it was refined to the present standard we are
accustomed to - The Toyota Production System.
So what is ‘lean’? As already stated it’s the removal of waste from
But just removing waste only is not enough, so that’s where the
other lean principles come into practice.
They cover all aspects of production in any environment and can be
used by anyone who wants to improve his or her working environment and
LEAN THINKING AIMS
Built in quality
Zero defects / PPM
Route cause analysis
Capital spend reduction
Optimised inventory level Productivity increase.
Reliable and consistent
Responsive to fluctuation Lowest possible lead-time
MANUFACTURING TRADITIONAL FOCUS:
WORK HARDER FASTER FOR LONGER
IMPROVE THE PROCESS TO ELIMINATE WASTE AND TO WORK SMARTER / SAFER -
THIS IS THE AIM OF LEAN MANUFACTURING